Disabled Orlando homeless woman finds hope in selfless friend

When Melody was 4 months old, she was injured in a fire at her babysitter’s house that left burns over 80 percent of her body.
She lost both feet, a hand, an ear and half her nose in the fire.
She panhandles in Orlando to supplement the $700 a month she gets in disability.
With Melody is the friend who has been at her side since he found her in a wheelchair stuck in a storm grate on Colonial Drive.
Orlando, the man, not the city, helped her out only to realize that she was homeless just like he was.
Unlike him, Melody was totally helpless and alone.
“She can’t find her family and she has no friends, really,” Orlando said.
Orlando runs into traffic to accept donations from drivers and immediately hands any cash over to Melody.
It is not just the day-to-day things that Orlando has been helping Melody with.
“He’s even talking about trying to help me find my mom,” Melody said. “And I want to try to find out where my youngest son is, too.”
Her time on the streets of Orlando has been difficult, and while some people give her money, gape at her or just ignore her, there are some who are simply cruel, Melody said.
“When it comes around Halloween time, people are like, they always say to me, ‘Well, you don’t have to worry about a costume. You already look scary enough,’” she said.
Orlando has dedicated himself to his friend and is trying to do anything he can to help Melody.
“She deserves better than what she’s gotten out of this life,” he said. “I don’t think she’s done anything to deserve this.
“In the situation she’s in, she does not deserve to suffer even more. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure she doesn’t.”
Steve Barrett

Steve Barrett, WFTV.com

Reporter Steve Barrett returned to WFTV in mid-2017 after 18 months in the Twin Cities, where he worked as Vice President of Communications for an Artificial Intelligence software firm aligned with IBM.

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